Gionee's Marathon series of smartphones are all about massive battery capacities. This series has been a favorite of many users as the promise assured was fulfilled with the device performance. The Gionee Marathon M4 comes with a 5000mAH battery that claims a standby time of 440 hours. While the previously released M3 had some minor put offs the M4, tries to address it all. Read on to find more about it.
Design and Build
The Marathon M4 comes with a subtle design and a simple build. The metallic frame with a Grey finish and Silver borders gives the device a regal look. At 10.1 mm thick and weighing 176 grams the Gionee Marathon M4 obviously does not fall under the current 'look-good' species of smartphones. The front is completely Black with an exception of three Android navigation buttons. The front camera and the ear piece is spotted as well.
The rear is removable and is made of a lighter colored plastic. The rear panel is designed with slight curves that makes the smartphone more comfortable on your hands. The rear camera sits on the middle while the speaker is positioned at the bottom of the rear panel. Underneath the rear you will come across two micro-SIM card slots, the micro SD slot and a silver non-removable battery. The volume rockers are placed on the right side along with the power button. The top of the M4 houses in the 3.5mm headphone jack, while the bottom has the micro USB charging port.
We found that the Marathon M4 is a big improvement over its predecessor in this regard. The band around the sides is reassuringly metal, and everything about the overall finish and construction quality is quite attractive.
Inside the box you will come across the standard charger, cable and headset, a handy USB OTG adapter, a spare plastic rear with an attached flip cover (but a less attractive fake leather texture), an adhesive screen guard, and a small lint-free cloth.
The Gionee Marathon M4 adorns a 5-inch super AMOLED display with a screen resolution of 1280x720 pixels. The display comes with good contrast and colors which is quite impressive for this price range. The viewing angles are accurate with vivid colors. The three touch capacitive buttons at the bottom of the display helps you to navigate around. Since it is an AMOLED display the blacks are deeper and no significant color shift has been observed even while tilting the screen to various angles.
The competition these days in the smartphone market is so high that the users are bestowed with multiple options of handsets with powerful processors in a sub-10K price range. The Lenovo K3 Note is the best example. At this price point of 15 K the Gionee Marathon M4 is powered by a 1.3 GHz quad-core processor with a 2 GB of RAM. The MT6735 has four 64-bit ARM Cortex-A53 CPU cores, Mali-T720 MP2 graphics and even integrated LTE. Unfortunately this is not quite a big deal as the specification brings us back to reality.
Only 10 GB is available for the user out of the 16 GB internal memory. The memory can be further expanded to a 32 GB via micro SD card. The dual SIM smartphone supports 4G bands in India - TDD-LTE 2300MHz Band 40 and FDD-LTE 1800MHz Band 3. There's Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi b/g/n and FM radio
The highlight is of course the battery- a massive 5,000mAh with 440 hours of standby time and up to 50 hours of talk time. Both of which are highly impressive claims. Even with such a huge battery the device is equipped with two power saving modes.
A regular one which shuts down the background data and kills the running app. The second is a much aggressive mode which switches to a monochrome mode in which only the dialler, messaging app and clock will be accessible. Thus with both these power saving modes the handset may become handy in any emergency situation.
Most of the smartphones nowadays layers its own UI on top of Android to give the customers a different usage experience. Gionee too has done the same which involves a couple of preloaded apps and features. The Amigo UI comes with a wide variety of concept. The shortcuts panel is not in the regular notifications but rather has to be accessed by pulling up the bottom screen just like the iOS Command Centre. Pay special attention while performing this task as you might actually hit one of the capacitive buttons on the screen.
The English featured everywhere is insane especially in the settings. There is a lot to be redone in the UI translations. The TouchPal which is the default keyboard featured in M4 comes with quick clipboard shortcuts and general customisability but apparently the pop up hints interfere with the users and would even confuse them. The UC browser is there by default even when the Chrome is available on the handset. For all the games and apps the handset has a mini store known as the Game Zone. Another interesting feature is the Fake Call button which lets you secretly activate an incoming call in 15 seconds to aid you in getting out from an uncomfortable situation. It happens as if you are actually receiving a call and even has a message asking you to send the files immediately.
The apps and widgets are strewn all across the Home screen as there is no separate app drawer. The Chameleon app allows you to create a new theme by pointing the camera at something which piques your interest. The result is three complimentary colors from which you can choose your new theme. A wide variety of wallpapers are there in the Amigo Paper app. For all the monitoring and cleanup needs the System Manager is of assistance which even manages a data counter which cuts off access to specific unwanted apps. There's also Saavn, WPS Office, Yahoo Cricket, Twitter, DU Speed Booster and Gionee Xender.
A flip cover is included which is very much satisfying but it does has its own set of problems. The phone knows when the cover is closed and immediately shows the date, time and notifications, through the clear window. There's also a quick shortcut to the torch. Flipping the cover open automatically wakes up the phone. As the cover does not stay closed the phone tends to wake up all the time and may even incidentally activate the torch shortcut as well.
The Gionee Marathon M4 comes with an 8MP Auto Focus camera on the rear with an LED flash. The camera features are pretty good as the colors look vivid and bright on all the images taken. But when it comes to low-light conditions the app gets a major setback. There are several camera options which you wont find until you start tapping around. The filters and the creative mode helps you in creating beautiful memories.
The pictures taken during daylight came out exceptionally good even with some trouble on exposure detection. Photos actually looked really good when zoomed in at full size. Low light shots were also good though clarity took a huge hit, noise was a problem, and shutter lag resulted in some missed chances of capturing the image. The 5 MP front camera gives you decent selfies and clearer video calls.
The Gionee Marathon M4 truly has an enormous battery capacity with improved software specifications when compared to its predecessor. Even though there in nothing exceptional to woo us in regard to the spec sheet, the overall build quality and user experience is worth it. If you are looking for a handset with a normal battery capacity and with powerful performance then the M4 will be definitely out of your league as you can find plenty of other models that are much attractive in design and with better performance quality.
Carrying a price tag of 15k, a smartphone these days are expected to feature a full HD display and a powerful processor. But sadly, both the features are being compensated for a powerful battery. We only hope that Gionee will pay more attention to the credibility of its UI translations in the next software release.
Seems well-built and solid
Decent photos in daylight
Massive battery life
Lots of UI quirks and unreliable translation to English
Bulky and heavy
The new Gionee Marathon M4 will be up against the Android One series Lava Pixel V1 , Xolo Black and the recently released water-proof Motorola Moto G 2015.